Listening to Stone: The Art and Life of Isamu Noguchi

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Product Details

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publish Date
6.3 X 9.2 X 1.7 inches | 0.02 pounds

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About the Author

Hayden Herrera is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated Arshile Gorky: His Life and Work, as well as Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo, and Matisse: A Portrait.


"The genius of Listening to Stone is how its author, Hayden Herrera, inhabits the sculpturing hand of its subject. Rather than focus on the surface, Herrera gest 'beneath the skin, ' as Noguchi would say, to the 'brilliance of matter' . . . [An] elegant account." --James Panero, The New York Times Book Review

"Masterful . . . Herrera had to synthesize a vast amount of material to produce this authoritative account." --Ann Levin, The Associated Press

"Hayden Herrera's welcome and comprehensive biography of [Noguchi] provides a definitive portrait of a figure who, by the time he died in 1988, was seen by many critics as the greatest American sculptor of the 20th century . . . Listening to Stone is a complex account of a flawed and restless visionary." --Michael Upchurch, The Seattle Times

"Herrera wisely used the biographical framework for Listening to Stone: The Art and Life of Isamu Noguchi . . . And what a tale it is! One that Ms. Herrera tells with clarity and Measured restraint. Noguchi knew all sorts of people--important artists and architects, patrons and politicians--and met them in a world-wide variety of places. At times Listening to Stone unfolds almost like a novel." --E. A. Carmean Jr., The Wall Street Journal

"A passionate stone carver and a constant traveler with a notoriously complicated love life, Noguchi constructed, with tremendous vision, skill, and turmoil, dynamic outdoor installations all around the world. But as Herrera . . . so sensitively illuminates and assiduously documents, his mixed heritage and illegitimate birth caused him endless anguish . . . Herrera tells Noguchi's astounding, many-chaptered story of 'unstoppable creative energy, ' fame, and perpetual alienation with thrilling narrative drive and deep perception and reinvigorates appreciation for Noguchi's searching and evocative art." --Booklist, (starred review), Donna Seaman

"Herrera delves into the details of the life of influential and enigmatic American sculptor Isamu Noguchi in this thorough and solid biography . . . Herrera's expertise and insight illuminate Noguchi's evolving creative process, as well as the full scope of his personal relationships . . . Herrera adroitly shows that Noguchi was more than just a sculptor-he was a skilled craftsman, a heartbreaker, and a philosopher of design. This biography carves a smooth portrait of one of the most prolific and original artists of the twentieth century." --Publishers Weekly (Top Ten Art, Architecture & Photography Pick for Spring 2015)

"A comprehensive biography of a sculptor of stone and space . . . Herrera gives readers an ample, thorough analysis of his estimable art." --Kirkus Reviews

"From beginning to end, Listening to Stone is a beautifully written biography and an engrossing tale of one of the most inventive artists of the twentieth century. As she elucidates Noguchi's poetic genius and his wonderfully unclassifiable approach to art, Hayden Herrera brings to life the milieus in which Noguchi lived like no one else. From the mountainous coast of rural Japan to bohemian New York in the 1920s to Paris and Tokyo in the following decade, she vividly presents Noguchi's relationship with his settings. This is an enticing book achieved with an élan consistent with the magical work of a remarkable artist." --Nicholas Fox Weber, author of The Bauhaus Group: Six Masters of Modernism

"Listening to Stone provides a sweeping portrait of a rebel genius who was able to make a difference doing the work he most loved. Hayden Herrera helps us understand a man who, like many of his friends and associates, was branded an outlaw because he was so far ahead of his time. Listening to Stone is a monument to the man who created monuments around the world." --L. Steven Sieden, author of Buckminster Fuller's Universe: His Life and Work